moving: bait & switch?

It’s not another craigslist spam story, that’s something right? It is, however, a story of a legitimate ad that was still useless!

After returning from errands, I fired up the ol’ browser. For some reason I still have faith that there are real people out there with apartments I’ll like that are posting ads. I saw this ad just after noon and immediately sent an inquiry. It says “showing” and not “open house” so I didn’t hop up and head right over. The spam-burned part of me didn’t want to show up and have a clearly not-moving resident stare at me like I was an idiot. Some friends of mine lived in this building and it is literally 2-3 blocks away from my current place, so it would be perfect.

After an hour had gone by and I didn’t hear anything back, I ironed a nice shirt and headed over there.* Based on the ad, I had to assume that this was a by-owner rental since there was no mention of a leasing agent and no phone number to call and confirm an appointment for the showing. So I walk over and call the apartment to get buzzed in… no response. After enough rings, I was thinking “Ok, you got scammed again.” but the desk clerk buzzed me in and once she was off the phone, I looked at the sign-in book. No one had been by to visit that apartment all day. I showed her the craigslist ad, she looked at it and gave me a form to fill out to make an appointment with the leasing agent. I asked if she knew of anyone else coming to see it and she said no. So I filled out the form and waited, figuring that someone else would come along with the same story.

After a while, a man and his… daughter? wife?** came by and asked about the ad. The desk clerk called me over and decided that we should just go ahead up the apartment. So I went up with the couple*** and we knocked on the door. No answer. Knocked one more time, noticed that a food delivery menu was stuck to the door and we headed back down to the lobby. Once back down there, there was another couple inquiring about the apartment, but by now the desk clerk had confirmed with the leasing agent that there was an Open House for that unit and could we please wait?

We waited a bit, the leasing agent told us to hold on for another minute while she took and then made a phone call. After she was done, she exited her office and told us, “The apartment that was listed for $1,600 has already been rented, but I can show you an $1,800 unit on another floor if that’s ok.”


Since I might still look at a property they manage, I won’t say the name of the management company, but this agent of theirs Monique? I feel like she played us. The ad text doesn’t say “first come, first served.” I admit that it does have a note of urgency, but it’s just over a week until the end of the month, that’s to be expected. So, she’s having an open house that she hasn’t even told the desk staff about. She’s already rented the apartment barely an hour after placing the ad which advertises the showing for another 2 hours. I’d love for any leasing agents out there to tell me what they think of my experience, because from a customer/apartment seeker’s perspective, it feels like a big ol’ bait & switch. 🙄

I told the leasing agent that I would make an appointment and come back later. I had no desire to see an apartment at the same time as 4 other people. And to add to the FML‘ness of it all, a downpour started just as I left for home–without an umbrella. The downpour ended just as I made it back to my building.

I think I’ve earned a little comfort food and a cocktail. 😈

* I’m really not a fan of Open Houses because you want to be able to meet with and make an impression upon the owner. If they’re trying to show the place to you and others at exactly the same time, it’s pointless.

** Man… I hope it was his daughter!

*** See?! That’s exactly what I was trying to avoid!

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2 Responses

  1. Fredo says:

    As far as the bait and switch goes, something similar happened to me a couple of years ago when I went on my initial apartment search. This was a CL find, but at least it wasn’t as spam-ridden at the time as it is now.

    Regardless, the ad listed an apartment for one price, which was—of course—“unavailable”; they offered to show me one that was only $100 more. Granted that was within my budget, but it still kinda irked me that I was lured over with a seemingly reasonable price on a rental. Not that it mattered in the end since they rejected my application.

    What, me bitter? Never! 🙄

  2. brian says:

    @Fredo: Nooooo, not bitter at all. Honestly, when I went to look at these places today, even with advertised specials I half expected them to say “Well, we don’t have anything going for the special anymore, but…”

    Thankfully that wasn’t the case.

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